Our Young Eco-Leaders program provides vocational training for middle-school students by bringing them out of the classroom and into the field to do hands-on conservation science in their rainforest community. Students and local community interact and learn together,turbocharging good practices of conservation land management to restore the forest, protect soils and water, guarantee long term productivity and learn leadership skills that will benefit both the forest and its people.
What is the issue, problem, or challenge?
Most of the land in our area belongs to family farmers who, in the absence of guidance and incentives, are unable to adopt sound and sustainable conservation practices. Local government lacks the resources to provide leadership, soils are exhausted, water resources are stressed, and the forest is cleared. Due to lack of opportunity many local youth no longer see a future for themselves, frequently dropping out of school and drifting to the towns to take unskilled and often unsatisfying jobs.
How will this project solve this problem?
The program aims to equip groups of students to become environmental leaders in their community. We do this by focusing on three things: critical thinking, science-based learning and practical field experience.This cross-pollination of ideas between students and farmers is highly beneficial to both groups, as the enthusiasm and scientific discoveries of youth plus the practical experience of the farmers creates a dynamic new understanding of how we can all play a role in caring for our planet.
Potential Long Term Impact
Young people everywhere complain of not having enough to do - yet when they are involved in programs that inspire them and stimulate their creativity they can become the change makers of the community! As their skills and confidence increase, our EcoLeaders will become ever more excited about encouraging and working with 1000 farm families in adopting better land management practices to increase productivity, enhance sustainability, and protect the forests, soils and water that benefit us all.
Total Funding Received to Date: $38,101
Remaining Goal to be Funded: $1,899
Total Funding Goal: $40,000